Research Concentration - Stem Cells & Developmental Biology
College of Arts and Sciences
|Phone:||803-777-8349 (office), 803-777-9940 (lab)|
|Office:||CLS, Room 503|
Pituitary Gland Organogenesis
The pituitary gland plays a critical role in regulating a wide range of physiological processes, including reproduction, growth, metabolism, and stress responses. These processes are regulated through the secretion of hormones that affect specific target organs such as the liver, thyroid, adrenal gland, and gonads. As a consequence, mutations in genes involved in pituitary gland development can cause a loss of pituitary hormones, which can profoundly affect an individual’s physiology. Current research in the Davis lab focuses on determining the molecular mechanisms of pituitary gland organogenesis, using mice from the international knockout mouse project.
Peromyscus are a genus of rodents native to North America that are similar in appearance to the common laboratory mice, Mus musculus, yet evolutionarily are distantly related. Peromyscus laboratory stocks maintained by the Peromyscus Genetic Stock Center at the University of South Carolina are outbred and have genetic variability more similar to the human population than inbred strains of Mus. Dominant spot is a trait found in Peromyscus characterized by a large white spot on the forehead. Research in the Davis lab has linked this trait to the Sox10 gene, a transcription factor necessary for pigmentation, and is using the genetic variability in Peromyscus to identify genetic modifiers that alter the size of the forehead spot.